New here...looking for input with kitchen...island hood

pseudochefFebruary 10, 2013

Hi everyone, I'm new here and have been reading through all the posts on the kitchen forum. There's so much good information. We are in the beginning stages of a kitchen remodel and I could use some help. Functionally my kitchen works very well for me. I like my work space/work triangle and I am able to store everything I need. That being said, the house is from 1973 and the cabinets are getting rather old and gunky. Also, they hang lower than standard so I only have 13 inches of clearance from countertop to upper cabinet which means I can't store some things below the upper cabinets. I have met with a few different contractors and will likely be going the route of all new cabinets. I am hoping for new flooring, countertops, appliances, recessed lighting, removing the fur downs, etc. My biggest problem is with what to do with the island hood. Would leaving it in place and having it faux finished to match the new cabinets still leave my kitchen feeling heavy? I am not super fond of all of the stainless island hoods as they look quite modern and I have more traditional taste. The kitchen I like best so far in terms of design ideas is this one, so you can see my taste. So if you have any suggestions for the island hood or ways to improve my kitchen please let me know. I've been so impressed with what is presented on this forum I'd be happy to have some feedback and inspiration.

I'll also add that whatever I do needs to be super easy to clean as I'm due to have my 5th child this summer and there's lots of dirt floating around with all of these kids. Also, the eating area is cramped with just the 6 of us but I haven't been able to figure out a good solution for fitting in more chairs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen inspiration photo

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Lucky you that your kitchen functions well for you. I see a lot of similarities between your current kitchen and your inspiration. Sounds like you just need to go out and find your cabinets, couuntertop material and flooring.

Traditional Kitchen design by Minneapolis Interior Designer Amber Ranzau

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:23PM
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Thanks Aloha2009. I can't help but wonder though if I'm selling myself short by not being more creative in changing things. Obviously the inspiration photo is very similar to my current kitchen in a lot of ways. My background is in mechanical engineering so it's much easier for me to imagine new functions in the kitchen rather than a new style. Then I see people like 2 Little Fishies yellow kitchen reveal and I see how much could be done if I was just a little more creative. So if I'm trying to stay somewhat traditional and true to the house, does anyone have any more suggestions on how to lighten up the room and make it prettier. Because we have the young kids we are thinking that white cabinets might be too hard to keep clean and chip free. Thoughts??

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 10:08AM
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Function before form. You may perceive that kitchen as functional, but an island cooktop with no safety space behind it is not functional for a family with five small children. Pulling boiling pots of liquid or oil down onto little heads is the single most common serious kitchen accident affecting children. It's dangerous. Post your layout and we'll come up with a better solution.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 10:43AM
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Kathy Rivera

I know you said you like the current function, but I would encourage you to use that engineering mind and rethink things. :) Sometimes you don't know what you are missing out on until you see what it could be. That island is not only a barrier from sink to fridge, but I can't imagine it's all that safe/easy to use with 4 (soon to be 5!) kids running around. I just keep seeing you turn around with the giant boiling pasta pot to dump the water and a kid being under foot. Additionally, you said you are having trouble squeezing in seating. Let us help you find the best use of your space!

Measure it as is and put it on some graph paper. Then post it letting us know what you must have e.g., double ovens? Could you change to a range with a single oven? More pantry space? Recycle a lot and need space for that? Etc.

In terms of decor, I also currently have a dark wood kitchen with light counters and I find myself being drawn to that look again (just without the 30 year old cabs and the white chipped formica I currently have!). Something I've been looking at to lighten/change my look a little is a two tone kitchen. Painted uppers seem to lighten the space, and stained lowers should be a bit safer with the kids. Seems more people are doing it lately so might be a bit of a trend, but isn't everything at some point?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 10:52AM
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Your current kitchen looks nice and spacious. And your inspiration is quite lovely. I'd highly recommend taking the time to post a layout and at least considering some of the wonderful layout ideas this forum can generate. I don't have children myself, but personally I like to have lots of landing space around the cooktop (around 24" at least on either side).

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 10:56AM
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That kitchen would benefit from ditching the island (and the island cooking zone) in favor of a peninsula. And moving to a range as well. But, there is plenty of room to have the fridge move down on that wall and put the wall oven next to it. Then center the cooktop on the back wall. And do a peninsula out from the sink area and put seating across the back of it. You've just tripled the functionality of the space and eliminated a HUGE safety hazard. I still carry burn scars from where I was injured in a kitchen as a toddler and I wouldn't wish that experience on anyone.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 10:57AM
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I've attached the layout the contractor I'm working with did. Sorry it's a little messy. Marcolo, about the island cooktop, I'm not opposed to moving it somewhere but I'm afraid it might be too expensive. But I'm sure someone on here ahs advice about that. The other issue is that my husband very much wants to keep an island. I had thought about putting the cooktop where the double oven is at the back of the kitchen, but I'm not sure how that would work with venting it since there's an AC vent above it. Also, I really like having the wall ovens so I don't have to lean over as far and I really enjoy baking. One person had suggested moving the cooktop to the right side wall near where the fridge is, but that would be a long way to walk with a hot or heavy pot over there, call me lazy. So far thankfully we haven't had a safety issue with having the cooktop in the middle of the room, but I can definitely see how an accident could happen. I basically hover over anything that's cooking until it's finished.

All right let me have it with the layout, but please keep in mind I'm going to need to pay for college for 5 kids so funds are not unlimited :)

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 11:08AM
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Yeah, that cooktop on the island is not safe at all. I would put the cooktop (or a range) on the current wall ovens wall, and put the wall ovens plus tall pantry cabinets and/or MW next to the fridge. Make sure the sink is not between the range and cooktop.

Then, decide if you want (or have room for) an island vs. peninsula. You can figure this out by measuring from sink wall to fridge wall (wall to wall actual measurements, not cabs to cabs), subtract 25.5" for the sink cab run, 27" for the cab-only island. Then subtract either: 36" for the fridge wall if the fridge is not centered on the aisle between new cooktop wall and aisle, 30" for the fridge wall if the fridge is centered on that aisle and you will have wall ovens, OR 25.5" if you will not have ovens and will only keep standard depth cabinets. Divide the final number by 2 - those are your aisle widths on either side. If that number is below 42" I would strongly consider ditching the island for the peninsula.

Hope that made sense. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 11:35AM
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KathyNY76 I really like that idea of stained cabinets on bottom and painted on top, that's beautiful. A peninsula could be a really good idea coming from the leftside where the desk is currently. I wonder if I could have seating at it too for eating. I'll have to do some measuring. I'm attaching a picture showing the opposite view of the kitchen so you can see the eating area. I would like to have a bench put in under the window which would open for storage so that the kids can throw in their backpacks and lunchboxes. There is enough room to run an 18" deep bench the full length of the large window and not have it feel cramped when you come in the French doors. You can see that the door to my laundry room is in the way. It's not possible to exchange it for a pocket door, but I could have it swing into the laundry room or be a bi-fold door. The shoes will hopefully be going into the storage bench under the window. Out the French doors to the right is a small mudroom and then garage. It has painted white wood walls and a pebble stone floor, I love it.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 11:58AM
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And here is a picture of our living room which is just through a small hallway on the fridge side wall so you can see more of what I'm working with in the house. My husband is a big fan of the coziness of the wood paneling so be kind. He has said that if we do the stained cabinets in the kitchen as opposed to the white/cream which I originally wanted then we can paint the living room to lighten it up. The is a very closed concept house :)

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 12:01PM
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Here's a quick and dirty cut and paste of what I'm talking about. Venting would be easy. Straight up, and 90 degrees to the left to the exterior. Or if it were easier to join up with the current vent pipe in the attic, whatever bends would make that happen. It's a straight shot from the fridge to the water source and cooking zone. You don't need an island in this configuration, but if hubby just plain wants one, you can do a mobile cart that can pull out for extra prep space when needed but tuck back under the counter when it's in the way (like it actually would be most of the time). Putting the fridge at the end of the run and having the cabinets between it and the wall oven means landing space for both is right there. It's also the best spot for a MW to create a dedicated snack zone.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 12:23PM
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I like where LWO is going with the floor plan. Regarding your laundry room and trying to get you more space in the eating area, would you be able to move the doorway to the laundry into the mudroom area(which sounds lovely BTW). Then perhaps you could have an L shaped banquette and table in that corner?

Will you use the bench under the window as seating for the table?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 12:39PM
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Kathy Rivera

Why does your husband want an island? B/C that's what all the fancy kitchens have? I don't mean that offensively, but we have discussions on GW a lot about people wanting islands for the sake of islands when really it doesn't help the space. I'm trying to squeeze an island in myself, and it really doesn't fit. It won't serve much purpose other than 'being an island'. I would suggest you really probe what he wants. Perhaps it's a nice big section of counter to prep on. Then show him how the peninsula will be that as well as a place for homework, snacks, etc.

The bench...will that be for seating at a table? Or just a place to put backpacks? B/C if it's just a drop zone for the kid stuff, I suggest you do NOT put it in the kitchen. Get some benches/cubbies/etc for the mudroom and leave them there. I know how messy my entryway bench looks with 2 kids - I can only imagine 5! :) It will just add clutter to the space. Then perhaps you could use the bench for actual seating at a table - and it could be storage for less used items like holiday plates/decor?

Something like this? Though maybe you get a wider table and turn it so the end holds 2 kids?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 1:57PM
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LWO thanks! That looks quite good. I do like the idea of that peninsula as it would really help with our crowded seating issue. It might also provide a visual buffer between coming in from outside and seeing kitchen mess at the sink, etc. Concerns would be the cost of changing the electrical for the wall ovens and possibly moving the fridge (water line cost).

KathyNY76 - I'm not entirely sure why my husband really wants an island but I will probe for more information and see if a peninsula would be ok. It's not for prep work for him as I do 99% of the cooking/meal prep :) I think he likes having a landing spot from the fridge and microwave and it's also how our kitchen is currently. I think he and I both have a hard time making any big changes even if they would be beneficial. You get so used to how things are it's hard to change your habits. We both do love the idea of a built in banquette so I'll show him that picture. The storage bench could be used for seating as well as storage. We can't truly use the mudroom for storage because it opens to the outside and isn't very secure, just a storm door that doesn't lock very well. Not that anyone would want to steal my kids backpacks, but I'd prefer to keep everything inside.

Localeater - we can't change the door to the laundry room to go in through the mudroom because as I say above the mudroom is really open to the outside and not secure.

Thanks for all the feedback! There's a lot to think about. I appreciate all the advice.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:35PM
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Ok, I talked with my husband and thought carefully about the cooktop being in the middle of our island. First of all, he loves the island and doesn't want to give it up for a peninsula. So then as a safety precaution and to get rid of the huge vent hood I could move the cooktop to the back wall where the wall ovens are. However, I really don't like the idea of cooking facing a wall and I would have to give up my wall ovens most likely because it would be cheaper to get a cooktop/oven combo if we're paying to get a new vent and change the venting/electrical. So knowing full well there is a safety risk with having a cooktop in the middle of my kitchen I'm going to keep it there. I am very aware of cooking while the children are around and never leave anything unattended. We've lived here for 6 years and I've had two new children while living here and we've never had an accident and I'll continue with my vigilance.

That all being said does anyone have any ideas about the island vent? We can keep it and possibly have it faux painted and have the trim changed or go with a new vent although I think they're usually too modern for my taste. Does anyone have any other ideas?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 11:07PM
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I don't have any idea how to post a picture, but I had a similar quandry as yours. I have an island cooktop (which I love) and didn't want SS. I liked the thought of copper, but couldn't see the sense in putting something made to attract grease and oil made of something that would be difficult to clean. I called Vent a Hood in Texas and spoke with a very nice customer service rep who told me about powder coating a hood in an antique copper finish. I selected the shape and size I needed and 7 weeks later it was delivered. It looks, I think, great and it works very well. I even lucked out because Vent a Hood doesn't have those wire mesh filters or even baffles, so it is very quiet and easy to clean. You can get a hood powder coated in just about any color. I didn't look any further than the vent a hood, but I would imagine you could probably have any brand hood color coated locally.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 11:39PM
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Re-examine your kitchen activities. Only 10% of kitchen time is actually devoted to cooking---actually heating food. 70% of the time in a kitchen is devoted to prepping. In your current kitchen, you probably spend most of your time staring into the corner, or having things fall off of the tiny island. If you did the cooking zone on the back wall and just kept the island, you could face the refrigerator wall while prepping.

On the other hand, if you did the peninsula, you'd have that large single level space for kids to spread out their homework and for you to do most of your prep work. It's right there next to the sink for good water access, and just a step and spin to the cooking. Most of your time would be spent facing out into the room and facing the family.

It's not only a safety hazard as it currently exists, it's poor resale value down the road. Even if you put brand new finishes over the old layout, it would be considered a tearout in order to get a more functional layout. There's a thread on here somewhere dealing with a similar issue. It lowers the value of the home to have a poor kitchen layout, even if everything is brand new.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:45AM
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robo (z6a)

I know you like that kitchen but I too think the layout would be really bad for resale if you care about that kind of thing. The cooktop on that narrow island will drive most people out of your house in a real hurry. If you really feel that that's non-negotiable, would you consider a 6" raised backsplash along the back for safety?

If you are looking to get your money back out of the kitchen and you are 100% wedded to the layout, don't invest much money in it. Just some paint. If you just want to make it work for you, are planning to stay in the house forever, and don't care about getting money out of it, that's a different story.

I can understand not wanting a more modern island hood but that giant hood is really dominating your space and making it appear much smaller.

Another option, going back to the peninsula, would be to incorporate L-shaped banquette seating, using the bench that is there as one leg and backing the other onto the peninsula. You could squeeze like a million little kids in there! Great solution for your seating problem. You can do banquettes using ready to assemble cabinets if you are handy.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:47AM
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If you really, really need to keep the island:
1) Put cooktop or range where the double ovens are - you already have electric or gas there, so you can easily install an induction or gas range. Don't use standard electric, induction is much better.
2) Put fridge at the end of the sink run.*
3) Put wall ovens (if you will keep them) next to pantry. Make sure the ovens are centered in new range/island aisle - you may need to reduce the current pantry to do this.*
4) Put all tall, shallow (12" deep or less) on the right wall to the "south" of the ovens. These hold a lot.
5) You now have more room for a 48"W aisle on the sink/fridge side (NKBA minimum recommendation for multiple cooks, and your kids are going to be going through there and will only get bigger).
6) You also now have 5.5" extra in width to play with. You can add this to the island, or add it to the right aisle.

In the above scenario, you can swap fridge and wall oven locations if you like. You would only need to run new electric or gas to your new wall oven location, and possibly a water line to your new fridge location.

HTH, good luck!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:47PM
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Kathy Rivera

You probably don't like the idea of cooking facing a wall b/c you have a distorted view of cooking. Right now with the island cooktop safety issues you have to stand there and watch it the whole time. If you moved it to a safe location you will be able to put a pot of water on and step away to another area to do some more prep or help a kid. You'll find you aren't spending so much time 'cooking' anymore.

And you will really solve the issue of that hood weighing down your space if you put it on the wall.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 2:00PM
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Ditto what KathyNY76 said.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 2:11PM
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Well, I agree that I have a different style of cooking because of the cooktop placement. I would never leave anything simmering on the cooktop. I've altered recipes like that to do in my crockpot or I would do them after the kids are in bed (making stock with a turkey carcass, etc). And I do spend my prep time in that back corner where the dishwasher is. I would probably continue to do that no matter what because that's where the sink is. But if I got moved the cooktop over there then that would solve the hood problem and change my cooking ability. I'm somewhat more of a baker though so the idea of giving up my wall ovens is no fun to me. I think I just need to get a real estimate on costs associated with changing the venting for the cooktop and then changing the electrical to have wall ovens on the fridge side and see what it all comes out to.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 2:50PM
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Also, what about the AC vent that is above my current wall ovens? I'm not sure what to do about that if the cooktop vent needs to go through there.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 2:52PM
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Do you have an attic space above, or is it a second floor? If it's an attic space, it's super easy to move pretty much anything that needs moving. If it's a second floor, it's still doable, but you'd need an onsite inspection from an HVAC professional to determine what would need to be done and how much it would cost. Location in the country has a great bearing on costs as well. Moving an AC duct and doing a bend in the attic to connect with the already existing roof penetration here would be a half day's job of maybe $300.

Same with the electric for the wall oven. If your breaker panel has an open slot, and you have an attic space above, $300$400 would be a ballpark in my area. It's a bit harder to fish wire down the wall cavities than just moving an AC duct over a stud bay.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:01PM
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One of the difficult parts of designing a kitchen is detemining what your cooking style (needs ) are now and what they will become. Everyone adapts to their current kitchen. Often you may not realize how bad it is until you actually use a kitchen that functions better. So you need to think about how you would like to cook. Its hard to imagine how it will change.

If your cooktop is in a safer spot you will be more relaxed in the kitchen. I had an equally dangerous layout. I have noticed I am much more calm in the kitchen. If your Dh wants an island due to landing space just make sure you incorporate it but it doesn't have to be an island.

DH and I were hung up on the refrigerator placement. Once we let go of that our layout came together and we love our kitchen.

It been noted here that kids of all ages loves sitting at islands and penisulas so keep that in mind.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:23PM
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Ok, I spent a little time on houzz looking for options and I ran across the corner cooktop. I could keep my wall ovens where they are, avoid the ac vent above the wall ovens, it would probably be easy to vent right outside on the exterior wall, and then I could even have a cool little shelf above my cooktop. I need to think about where I would do all my prep work, I guess the island, since I would be loosing my corner work area. See the picture I attached, it's the opposite layout of what my kitchen could be. What about this? Seriously you people are a tough audience!

Traditional Kitchen design by Charleston General Contractor Jamison Howard

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 6:11PM
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If you do a wood hood that meets and thus disguises the AC vent, you can fit your cooktop and hood just fine in the wall oven location. I would not want to cram a cooktop in that corner without relocating the ovens and sink - you will have no landing space for a hot pot that needs to come off quickly without turning around to the island, and OOPS there might be a kid in the way - dangerous. I think the minimum recommendation is 12 or 18" of normal counter space on either side, and you will only have tiny little triangles.

I'm sorry we seem like a tough crowd, but as someone on this forum once said: dreaming on paper is free. Best to think everything through on paper before you spend thousands of dollars on an inadequately laid out kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 6:25PM
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Corner cooktops take up much more space than those on a straight run. And, only one person at a time can be there. If you envision kids helping out at some point, they will not be able to do that with a corner cooktop. It truly isn't a problem to locate the cooktop on the wall oven wall. And moving the wall oven across the aisle doesn't make it any further from the cooktop than it is now. I also really think that you and the kids would enjoy the ability to sit at a peninsula. If you put the fridge directly across from it, you'll find that the food travels from the fridge to the peninsula and with the water right there to your right, the peninsula will become the primary prep center. It will really only be a step to turn and stir the stock or to toss the just chopped ingredients into the stewpot.

People become accustomed to making adaptions to overcome the limitations of poor design. I see this all the time. Behaviors, even poor ergonomic actions or poor safety habits become ingrained and rote. And then they fear the change. All they know is the rote actions that they are accustomed to. Don't fear the change! You're getting an exciting opportunity to make not just your kitchen better, but you LIVES better. Yes, good design can make that big of a difference in your family behavior patterns. And you've gotten good advice and a good layout.

The only thing additional that I'd suggest is making the U a bit shorter in distance so you have more room for seating on the other side, and putting the DW between the sink and range. That's usually a poor location, but with the peninsula, that will be the prep location and you can now have someone chopping veggies there while someone else on the other side of the sink loads the DW. And someone else stirring risotto. And someone else doing homework on the peninsula's seating side. And someone else raiding the fridge. ANd somone else nuking some pizza rolls. All at the same time. Without getting in each other's way.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:18PM
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Ok, I traced over the contractor's drawings and tried it with the peninsula and with changing the center island. Still don't really like the peninsula option for several reasons. Anyway, here's the updated layout with moving the cooktop to the back wall and then I shortened the island by 18" at the top so that I would have more access to the wall ovens on the fridge side of things. I can add an extra 6" on the bottom end so it's about 4.5" long total. Maybe I don't have to shorten it at the top? I just thought it would be nice not to have to walk around the island to get to the wall ovens. Everything is drawn to scale. I can see how a corner cooktop would be cramped unless I moved the wall ovens which defeats the purpose of having the corner cooktop. Thoughts on this layout?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:37PM
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